Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

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Grooveman JS
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Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:41 am

I've been making my rounds doing research for my next purchase(s); saw videos of a world class player (don't know if its proper to quote him here) & he loves Ramirez guitars. He mentioned that these guitars; especially the older ones (1A) are not for everyone but if one has the know how to coax the woody & natural tones out of it; its absolutely beautiful. He then went on to encourage a less experienced player seeking advice on buying an instrument to choose "easier" playing guitars. What is it with these guitars, do they have this reputation for being difficult to play? Do these instruments "fight you" or what.....that you've to work extra hard or find a way to play, coax the tones out of these guitars?

Along with him, I've heard some other good players coaxing very nice tones out of their Ramirez instruments too & i think they sound wonderful. It could very well be the most definitive "Spanish Guitar Sound" there is. My own experiences with Ramirez guitars are very limited....its the lower models (a thin line cutaway model & the 4NCWE); my verdict after trying.....I can only say they're ok guitars; playability is pretty good too probably because they're cutaway models.....
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rinneby
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by rinneby » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:02 am

Grooveman JS wrote:I've been making my rounds doing research for my next purchase(s); saw videos of a world class player (don't know if its proper to quote him here) & he loves Ramirez guitars. He mentioned that these guitars; especially the older ones (1A) are not for everyone but if one has the know how to coax the woody & natural tones out of it; its absolutely beautiful. He then went on to encourage a less experienced player seeking advice on buying an instrument to choose "easier" playing guitars. What is it with these guitars, do they have this reputation for being difficult to play? Do these instruments "fight you" or what.....that you've to work extra hard or find a way to play, coax the tones out of these guitars?

Along with him, I've heard some other good players coaxing very nice tones out of their Ramirez instruments too & i think they sound wonderful. It could very well be the most definitive "Spanish Guitar Sound" there is. My own experiences with Ramirez guitars are very limited....its the lower models (a thin line cutaway model & the 4NCWE); my verdict after trying.....I can only say they're ok guitars; playability is pretty good too probably because they're cutaway models.....
Most of the 1A:s are long scale 664mm with action above 4/3mm - This makes them a challenge to play for many. There are Ramirez 1A guitars with 650 scale - To my understanding they are easier to play, but don't have that traditional "Ramirez" sound. Should sound wonderful in their own way though.

A friend of mine has a nice 650 scale in mint condition, PM me if you are interested.

/Jon
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1975 - Atushi Nakamura No.15
1977 - Kuniharu Nobe No.15
1980 - Hirade Master Arte 8
1996 - Masaru Kohno Maestro

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:09 pm

:merci: Thanks Jon, I'm still in the midst of my research & will only commit sometime towards the end of March.
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petermc61
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by petermc61 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:35 pm

I agree with what Jon said, at least in the era they seemed to become famous because of Segovia (1960s). I own a 1904 Ramirez 1 and it is dead easy to play. I also owned a 1954 (?) Ramirez II that was also very easy on the hands. But those Ramirez III with 664/54mm setup and chunky necks are a real challenge for many people including myself.

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rinneby
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by rinneby » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:14 pm

petermc61 wrote:I own a 1904 Ramirez 1 and it is dead easy to play.
Would love to see a picture!

/Jon
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1975 - Atushi Nakamura No.15
1977 - Kuniharu Nobe No.15
1980 - Hirade Master Arte 8
1996 - Masaru Kohno Maestro

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

Jack Douglas
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Jack Douglas » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:29 pm

I have a friend that bought one of Christopher Parkening's Ramirez that is both beautiful to look at and has a tone to die for. He stopped by my house about a year ago for a playing session visit and I played his guitar. The action didn't seem too high but with my small hands the 664 scale was a bear. It reminded me why professional players selected Ramirez as their performance instruments.
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georgemarousi
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by georgemarousi » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:45 pm

As an owner of an old 1A of 1980 (664mm), and several other - fair to very good - guitar(s) of 650mm let me tell you what I think;

Yes, the playability is generally a bit more demanding in the old A1, as all dimensions of the fretboard are a little bit increased ( area of 644 x 54+ mm.. ). I would not recommend that for small hands ( I am tall, so it's OK for me at least ).

But, personally, I have lowered the saddle almost all the way down possible, and things are not that hard; action is around 3mm low E, 4+mm high E ( looks even higher than it actually is, as around the 12+ fret as the fretboard is curved on purpose, to allow bigger string movement! ). On my 1A there is even some more room for the saddle, and may be even more with some hadrware job on the wood of the bridge, but I think it's already on a good spot, not to hard for the fingers and also allowing very big amounts of string vibration.

Also the small radius of the fretboard ( ! ) helps a lot, especially doing barre's. Advantages of the bigger nut width (54mm) also exist, as the fingers have more room when they are to close to each other at difficult close lh positions - something that in the opposite example (wider positions ) would require more effort for the fingers..

Moreover, the best stings/tension that I have settled on so far, daddario carbon mediums ( and not only me but a proffessional using an old A1 too! ) are also not too hard also - especially their basses - but they bring out a very powerfull and quality sound from the instrument ( I have been there recently, where a similar old 1A, unplugged, greately fullfilled a 200 -square-meter hall with 120+ people ! )

To sum up, I believe that if you like the character of the guitar, which is the classical spanish sound and repertoire, with the fullest, deepest and sweetest guitar trebles you can get, and the overall moody and rich sound, get an old 1A and work on that extra mile to master it; Believe me, the result is totally worth it !

ps. Though I haven't tried a newer ramirez of 650mm, I assume that it should be easier on playability, alike the rest 650mm guitars

Regards,
George
Last edited by georgemarousi on Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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bluesnik
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by bluesnik » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:46 pm

The vintage 664 1a's from the 60's and '70's do require pretty strong technique. They are well worth the effort. The tone is hard to beat!
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Jeldan
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Jeldan » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:12 am

Have a try on a Ramirez Antigua 650
https://youtu.be/lrH2tdUBzpc
Your in for a nice surprise
Jackie
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DTut
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by DTut » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:32 am

Here's an old thread with some of the same discussion: viewtopic.php?t=27973&start=15

I absolutely love my 1a and the extra effort is more than compensated for by the wonderful sound. I also really like the thick neck and wide fingerboard. I realize some say these are the exact reasons they don't like a 1a--- :lol: I've tried a 650 mm Ramirez and the great sound is gone.

So, decide if your hands can handle the scale and if you like that classic sound. If so, then I would highly recommend a Ramirez 1a.

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petermc61
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by petermc61 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:47 am

rinneby wrote:
petermc61 wrote:I own a 1904 Ramirez 1 and it is dead easy to play.
Would love to see a picture!

/Jon
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=101271

Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:57 am

petermc61 wrote:I agree with what Jon said, at least in the era they seemed to become famous because of Segovia (1960s). I own a 1904 Ramirez 1 and it is dead easy to play. I also owned a 1954 (?) Ramirez II that was also very easy on the hands. But those Ramirez III with 664/54mm setup and chunky necks are a real challenge for many people including myself.
Hi Peter i gather what you're saying is quite similar to what another guitar afficianado was alluding to......because Segovia had big hands & wanted an instrument of thicker neck, longer scale & wider fretboard width; every mother's son in the guitar making industry was scrambling to make instruments with such dimensions; eventually earning the reputation guitars of that era being difficult to play....... I'll reproduce it here (btw "xxxxx" in the passage represents a Japanese maker):

<<I think xxxxx was making a more playable and musical guitar than the 70's and 80's Ramirez, but you can see the influence in the string length, ebony neck reinforcement strips, and other nuances. I had a 1982 664mm string length Ramirez that gave me tendinitis which was seriously debilitating, and my hands are good sized and fingers are sturdy. I like a good Ramirez but the influence of Segovia's big hands on the neck width and string length was a bad turn in the history of guitar making. Many people struggled, and still do, to play the Spanish 2x4 neck of that period. xxxxx must have been influenced by the marketplace, but he made a more interesting and playable guitar than the Spaniards within that paradigm, in my (newly formed) opinion. I studied for awhile with Ray Reussner, who studied with Segovia in the 60's and beyond. He said he asked Segovia once why he switched from the Hauser to Ramirez, and although I'm sure Spanish pride had something to do with it, Segovia's answer was the Hauser neck was too small now. So one man's large hands influenced a generation of Spanish makers; wild. I remember a Japanese student of Parkening's in the 70's struggling mightily with his big Ramirez. On the other hand we're lucky; if Segovia had started touring the world with a new xxxxx in 1963, the 60's xxxxx would be (if you could get one) in the $40,000 and up price range. So we can thank the Spanish tradition for the part it played in xxxxx work, and Segovia for distracting the world in the direction of Ramirez. :) Thanks again for your website and knowledge; I was fortunate to discover it.>>

I love that classic definitive big woody, natural/full sounding & sweet/warm Spanish Guitar tone for the repertoire but to describe Ramirez during the 70-80s In 1 word, FOOLISHNESS!
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
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Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:07 am

Jeldan wrote:Have a try on a Ramirez Antigua 650
https://youtu.be/lrH2tdUBzpc
Your in for a nice surprise
I've come across this video..... This is absolutely beautiful both the player & the guitar itself; the trebles are warm & full sounds.... very warm even for a new Spruce top.... :bravo: :bravo: :bravo:
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
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Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:17 am

I guess for me.....there's no reason why an instrument should be difficult to play regardless of the Label or who plays it.....The Classical Guitar is a very demanding; certain cases (virtuoso pieces) even gruelling repertoire; that's difficult enough.... so I'd think that luthiers would want to make guitars that have great ease of playability....do everything they can to facilitate playability; great responsiveness for both left & right hands (for the instrument is the player's voice) so the guitarist can devote to full musical expression of the repertoire.
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
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Grooveman JS
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Re: Ramirez Guitars - Difficult??

Post by Grooveman JS » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:28 am

petermc61 wrote:
rinneby wrote:
petermc61 wrote:I own a 1904 Ramirez 1 and it is dead easy to play.
Would love to see a picture!

/Jon
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=101271
Peter, you sure got a nice collection, Ramirez II is my fave.....so did you pay a million $$ for these? :lol: :lol:
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